BY: Mark Hauth
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIBLE TEXT: Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: It had crept up on me and it was getting worse. My wife sensed it. My kids could sense it. Everyone around me could sense it. It was time to do something about it, so I did.
I was lost in thought in the waiting room when the receptionist called my name, “Mr. Hauth, the Physician will see you now.” I stepped through the door but was caught a little off guard. It was definitely a doctor’s office, but with the decor you could tell He had an interest in carpentry. The Physician was a man in his early thirties with a close-cropped beard, dressed in white. Interrupting my bewilderment, He said, “I’ve been looking at your chart. Hmm, loss of joy, unfocused prayer life, emotionally distant from other believers — some serious symptoms indeed. This could be none other than a condition called Churchianity.” I was puzzled, as I considered myself a pretty solid church-goer. Why, I attended services most every Sunday! And what, exactly, was Churchianity? I stuttered, “Is-is there any hope for me?” A broad smile broke across His face. “Absolutely! I have just the prescription.”
He continued, “Churchianity is being busy with all kinds of religious activity but not actually having a close relationship with your Savior.” He put His hand to His chin. “To remedy this, we must take action on several fronts.”
“For your loss of joy,” He said, “you have to remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength. You were never designed to handle life on your own. Call on God to give you HIS joy, which is available in every circumstance.”
With frustration in my voice, I said, “I pray about that all the time, but my prayers just seem to glance off the ceiling.” With compassionate eyes, He said, “Perhaps they’ve been a bit one-sided.”
He leaned in and quietly said, “Prayer is intimate fellowship with a personal, caring God who delights not only in listening but in speaking to your heart as well. So cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you, but also say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ It’s two-way communication.”
“And as for the disconnect with other believers, it seems you’ve been putting in time in church alright, but not really engaging in authentic relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ. I think you will find that your church’s Life Groups offer many opportunities to encourage others in their faith and allow you to be strengthened in yours.”
As I pondered these things, it hit me. “Hey, wait a minute,” I said, ”You’re… Je-” And just like that He vanished into thin air.
I exclaimed to myself, “Didn’t my heart burn as He was talking and telling me these things?” I was feeling much better already! No more Churchianity for me.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Okay, so maybe this story didn’t quite happen like that but when we allow the activity of “doing church” replace authentic Christianity, it can become “Churchianity.” We have to guard against this by drawing closer to the Lord through prayer and through His ever-relevant word and stay in fellowship with His people, bearing their burdens and allowing them to help bear ours.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to be authentic Christians, full of Your joy, leaning into Your presence always for strength. Help us to recognize the enemy’s subtle schemes to draw us into religious activity with little to no relationship with You, our source. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mark lives in the Hermitage area with Wendy, his wife of 26 years. They are both quickly becoming empty-nesters. Several years ago they recorded an album titled, Steadfast Heart. They have been attending Life Assembly since about 2008. He enjoys songwriting, composing instrumentals, playing keys, guitar, and trumpet/flugelhorn, and recording at his home studio. Check out his FlugelHymns project on iTunes!